Book Rec

Books, Edits, and New Stories

Today brings an absolute bounty of new books from some of my favorite authors!

Ruby Fever by Ilona Andrews

First up, happy pub day to Ilona Andrews for Ruby Fever! I’ve been in a horrible reading slump for months, but this book smashed through it. It’s so good! Catalina and Alessandro are perfect for each other and this book is an excellent end to their trilogy. It’s intense, y’all, so block off time to read it straight through. You’ll thank me later! :)

I’m friends with Ilona and Gordon, so I’m biased, but it’s an objectively fantastic book (and series!), and it got a starred review from Kirkus, so I’m not the only one who thinks so!

Two more books out today that I’m excited to read: To Catch a Raven by Beverly Jenkins (two words: Grifter. Heroine.) and Heartbreaker by Sarah MacLean.

I told you today was a book extravaganza! :)

I finished edits on Honor and Shadows, the HTS prequel novelette. The story didn’t change too much, but the word count grew from 10k to nearly 14k because I added a couple of new scenes. It’s off for copyedits, and I haven’t received edits on Capture the Sun yet (but I have seen an early draft of the cover and it’s 😍!), so that means I get to work on something new.

I sent my fantasy romance beginning to my agent, and she enjoyed it and told me to keep going, so I started working on that. It’s (very loosely) inspired by Beauty and the Beast, and I’m having an absolute blast so far.

I wrote 1500 words yesterday, which is a lot for me, and it was joy from start to finish. Earlier this year, I was skating on the edge of burnout, so it’s nice to work on something with no expectations and no deadline. I don’t know if this will end up with a traditional publisher or not, we’ll just see how things go, but I’m hoping to maybe have it written by the end of the year.

Maybe. I’m not going to push myself quite as hard this time around, and I still have edits/copyedits/etc for CTS, plus the holidays, so it might push into early next year.

I’m trying to be okay with that. We’ll see how that goes, too. 😂

In less good news, I heard from my publisher that they will not be printing physical Advance Reader Copies (ARCs) of Capture the Sun. (Note: This is for the early reviewer copies only, and does NOT affect the final copies. The book will still be available in print.) There will be e-ARCs, and they are going to try to get me a few bound copies for my standard ARC giveaway, but if you are a reviewer who is used to getting a physical ARC, that won’t be happening this time. Printing and paper costs are through the roof, so they had to make cuts, and unfortunately, CTS was cut.

But since I don’t want to end on a sad note, here’s a picture of my first attempt at Japanese Milk Bread (recipe from King Arthur). It’s a little lopsided because I didn’t exactly divide the dough evenly, but it tastes delicious!

An uneven loaf of Japanese milk bread on a wire rack.

Making it was fussier than my standard sourdough, so it won’t be an all-the-time bread, but it is beautifully soft.

And since I bought real milk for the bread (we usually drink non-dairy milks), I also made the soft cinnamon roll recipe, and that one is a definite win! I’m convinced that coffee and a cinnamon roll is the breakfast of champions. :)

Have you tried any new recipes lately?

Office Organization

Yesterday, we built IKEA shelves for our office closet, which before was kind of a black hole of disorganization. I can ignore messy clutter for a long, LONG, L-O-N-G time, but there comes a point when my brain’s like NOPE and it has to be fixed.

That was this weekend.

Unfortunately, starting any project like this means taking everything out of the closet, spreading the clutter all over the rest of the room (and bathroom, in this case, since it’s the closest other room with space to stack boxes).

And every project leads to seventeen more. Because our office is really just a bedroom, it had a clothes rod and shelf that had to come out. Then we found there wasn’t any wall paint behind the shelf because it’d been there since the house was built, so I had to go find the painting stuff and hastily patch it up.

Then we realized we were going to have to build the shelf frames in the closet because they wouldn’t clear the door.

But, we were victorious… mostly. 😂 We still need some pretty boxes to organize things, so most of the stuff hasn’t been put away yet, but the main pieces are in. Behold!

A picture of the new shelves and drawers in our office closet, still mostly empty.
Still mostly empty, but getting there!

Some of the shelves were out of stock, so we have to wait for a restock. The project is really only half done, but we made a lot of progress in a single day. So much so, in fact, that I’m sore today from all the lifting and carrying and bending and twisting.

Oh, and before I fell into an organizational hole, I absolutely devoured T. Kingfisher’s Clockwork Boys and The Wonder Engine. A forger, an assassin, a fallen paladin, and a scholar go on a not entirely voluntary quest to save their city from destruction by clockwork warriors. It’s a delight! I’m now reading Swordheart, which is set in the same world, and I’m enjoying it just as much. If you missed these when they came out, check out a sample!

And let me know if you’ve read anything fantastic lately. Or tackled any organizational projects of your own. We can celebrate/commiserate together. :)

Book Rec: Taming Demons for Beginners

For the past year, reading has been kind of hit and miss for me. My Kindle is a graveyard of half-finished books, many of them books I was really looking forward to, but they just didn’t work for me for whatever reason (spoiler: global pandemic).

Usually, if I can carve out time to read a book straight through, I’ll make it to the end, but if I have to stop for any reason, the book becomes dead to me, even if I was enjoying it up until that point.

Don’t ask me how my brain works, it’s a mystery.

So when I find a book that pulls me to the end through a pause, it’s a bit of a miracle right now. And when I find a series that does it… well, the light from heaven shines down and angels sing.

Taming Demons for Beginners (The Guild Codex: Demonized Book 1) by Annette Marie Cover

This week, that book was Taming Demons for Beginners by Annette Marie. I’m a little late to the party on this one because it came out in 2019, but I glommed the whole four-book series SO! FAST!

And when I did have to put it down, I picked it right back up the next day. It’s compulsively readable in the best possible way (aka not because of cliffhangers, etc).

Set in a world where magic is common but secret, a grieving young woman discovers her uncle is into illegal demon summoning. Unfortunately for her, the demon is imprisoned in a magic circle in the library, but books, so she ends up spending time there because the draw of books is stronger than the fear of demons.

And then she starts taking to him.

And feeding him cookies.

And realizing maybe he’s not the mindless beast she’s been led to believe.

The book is a delight from start to finish. It’s available in Kindle Unlimited, so if you have a subscription, you can try it for free. If not, I recommend reading a sample before purchase, as per usual, because books are subjective. This was exactly what my brain needed this week, but that might not be true for you. :)

The next three books, Slaying Monsters for the Feeble, Hunting Fiends for the Ill-Equipped, and Delivering Evil for Experts are also available in KU, and I recommend them all.

Happy reading!

Happy Book Birthday to Emerald Blaze!

Emerald Blaze by Ilona Andrews is out today! I got to read an early copy of this book back in April and it broke me out of the pandemic reading slump I was in at the time. We’d been in lockdown for over a month at that point, and I thought it felt like forever. (Hahahahahahasob)

But then Ilona graciously offered me an early copy of EB (full disclosure: we’re friends! I’m biased!), and I tore through it in a few days after not finishing anything for weeks.

It is so good. It’s I should clearly give up this writing thing and go live in a cave in the woods because I can never hope to write this well good. I’m jealous of all of you who get to read it for the very first time.

As a reminder, this is the fifth book in the Hidden Legacy series, and the second book in Catalina’s trilogy. You’ll definitely want to at least read Sapphire Flames before this one. And if you have somehow missed Ilona Andrews’s previous books, then you have a whole host of awesome awaiting you.

More info on EB:

Emerald Blaze Cover. A dark-haired white woman in a long green dress holding a sword next to a dark-haired white man in a white shirt with an open color and rolled up sleeves holding a pistol.

Ilona Andrews, #1 New York Times bestselling author, continues her spellbinding series set in the Hidden Legacy world where magic controls everything…except the hearts of those who wield it.

As Prime magic users, Catalina Baylor and her sisters have extraordinary powers—powers their ruthless grandmother would love to control. Catalina can earn her family some protection working as deputy to the Warden of Texas, overseeing breaches of magic law in the state, but that has risks as well. When House Baylor is under attack and monsters haunt her every step, Catalina is forced to rely on handsome, dangerous Alessandro Sagredo, the Prime who crushed her heart. 

The nightmare that Alessandro has fought since childhood has come roaring back to life, but now Catalina is under threat. Not even his lifelong quest for revenge will stop him from keeping her safe, even if every battle could be his last. Because Catalina won’t rest until she stops the use of the illicit, power-granting serum that’s tearing their world apart.

Happy Reading!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple Books | Google Play | Kobo | IndieBound

Happy Book Birthday to Deal with the Devil!

Today is the day! Deal with the Devil by Kit Rocha is out today! Those of you who’ve been around for a while have heard me rave about this book before, way back in April of last year (which, let’s be honest, feels like twenty years ago). We did a virtual back alley trade of Aurora Blazing for Deal with the Devil.

Best. Trade. Ever.

Do you like squads of badass women with superpowers? Do you like teams of badass, morally conflicted supersoldiers? Do you like road trips that smoosh the two groups together, with all of the delicious tension that brings?

OF COURSE YOU DO! 😍

Full disclosure: Bree and Donna (the duo behind Kit Rocha) and I are friends and we share an agent. But their book is incredible and you should definitely check out a sample at the very least. I mean, here’s the first line:

Nina had broken the cardinal rule, and now she had to kill someone.

That is a killer first line (pun absolutely intended).

I officially blurbed the book with my rave from so many moons ago: “Nina is everything I love in a heroine―smart and badass, but with a core of hope and kindness. And Knox is jaded, honorable, and so very conflicted. I loved it!”

Here’s more info:

Deal with the Devil: A Mercenary Librarians Novel by Kit Rocha Cover

Deal with the Devil is Orphan Black meets the post-apocalyptic Avengersby USA Today and New York Times bestselling author duo Kit Rocha.

Nina is an information broker with a mission—she and her team of mercenary librarians use their knowledge to save the hopeless in a crumbling America.

Knox is the bitter, battle-weary captain of the Silver Devils. His squad of supersoldiers went AWOL to avoid slaughtering innocents, and now he’s fighting to survive.

They’re on a deadly collision course, and the passion that flares between them only makes it more dangerous. They could burn down the world, destroying each other in the process…

Or they could do the impossible: team up.

This is the first book in a near-future science fiction series with elements of romance.


Happy Reading!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple Books | Google Play | Kobo | Indiebound